Gazing out over the vast expanse of rippling, pristine blue, I relax into the thick cushions of the lounge chair, take a sip of bubbly moscato, and sigh deeply. This place harbors the sort of magic awakened only in fairy tales. Sparkling under an ombre of colors crafted by the setting sun, small waves of water lap gently against a gathering of boulders near the water’s edge where wavy grasses meet rock. Wildflowers congregate in large bodies near the outlying trees that encircle the open field of green, gently bowing their delicate blooms as a slow wind sweeps through.
I feel the tension ease and slowly melt like hot wax as I close my weary eyes. Birds sing and dance their way across outstretched limbs, taking flight into the fading twilight. Wisps of clouds inch lazily along. Inhaling slowly, I relish the scents of an air unmarred by city life, the sweet fragrance of lilac and honeysuckle reminders of a bygone world before the cancerous spread of concrete and smokestacks.
Spring is the best time to travel here; an untainted gem hidden away from the world, guarded by century old blossoming trees. Their cascading, weepy tendrils, all various shades of pinkish white and purple-y blue coat the landscape. Behind me, a solitary golden chain tree stands prominently next to a small stone cottage, arching long, twisted arms upward as tender ringlets blooming fiery yellow dangle and sway and tangle themselves together in the warm, whispering breeze.
The two-story cottage, weathered by time and elements, stands firm in its white-grey stone frame. Large windows have carved spaces into each of the four sides, giving entrance to an uninterrupted flow of natural light throughout the day. Vines creep and stretch their delicate florets across the rough stone.
I allow my senses a few moments to draw in the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of this beloved escape of mine.
“MOM! MO-OOOOM! CAN YOU WIPE MY BOTTOM? THERE’S A BIG GIANT POOP IN THERE!”
I blink several times, jolted from my reverie. What a lovely few moments that was. I carry the warm feelings of my seaside cottage vacation with me as I mentally prepare to wipe another poopy butt for the fourth time that day. I slowly push myself up off the ground and drag my feet to the bathroom.
I take approximately three to four vacations per day. They can last anywhere from five all the way up to ten minutes… but only sometimes ten. Those are extra special ones. My holiday usually begins by lying face down on the floor across strewn bits of Lego pieces and hot wheel cars while my kids are entertaining themselves for a precious few minutes. I return from my travels often by way of the baby pulling my hair, a child needing a snack, or a sibling squabble that requires mediation.
This is my “me time,” people. This is what that looks like right now. And it gets very detailed.
Each season of the year has its own vacation spot. Yeah.
In the summer I like to walk along an ocean shoreline dotted with colorful seashells, the sand cooled by the receding tide, and a sugar-rimmed strawberry margarita in hand. Seagulls dip and dive against the dramatic, flaming backdrop of a setting sun while calling out to each other. A pod of dolphins playfully jump through the rising and falling waves. And the sound of the crashing surf lulls me into a state of total peace.
Autumn brings brilliant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows, and over-sized sweaters. A large crackling bonfire snaps and pops. Shooting sparks dot the night sky like fireflies as I double-fist s’mores. Of course. This trip also includes a necessary hike through an untrampled wood surrounded by majestic, towering trees loosening their colorful leaves. Silently they float to the ground as I crunch the already fallen ones underfoot, sipping from a thermos filled with hot spiced cider while breathing in the crisp, cool air. Heaven on earth.
Winter releases a gentle snowfall as I sit cozily curled up in a quaint log cabin nestled in the mountains with a stack of books, fuzzy socks, an extra-large down comforter, and a colossal mug of hot cocoa- filled mostly with marshmallows. My gaze wanders toward the wood-burning fireplace as it casts a warm glow across the earthy room. I stare into it, allowing the stress to unwind its grasp and a soft heat to envelope me. The quietness of the moment stills my racing thoughts.
These are my sanctuaries, my temporary respites from the daily grind. I vacation alone. Always alone. And the tone is invariably contemplative and reflective. I don’t get out much these days, and it’s okay. ‘Tis the season with three young, needy babes. It won’t last forever, though, I know. So I will enjoy my children as they are, while also shamelessly allowing my mind to wander to beautiful, relaxing destinations a time or two… or four… throughout the day.
The call of the natural world has been weaved into the fabric of my being by The Creator. There is so much joy and peace to be found in it- whether in reality or simply in my dreams.
Maybe I’m weird. I won’t deny it. But maybe you’re weird, too. Do you have any favorite getaways hidden in the corners of your imagination? Do share. I’m currently in the market for some new locations and experiences.
Peace & Love, Amy